Last week readers shared some of the pre-recession luxuries they've cut back on in the last few months, and I was somewhat relieved to learn we're all scaling back on the same things. While tightening the budget and eliminating your favorite little pleasures isn't enjoyable, there's something reassuring about knowing we're all in this together. What so-called extravagances were the first to go?
- Clothes and shoes: It's clear most of you are shopping less, but that doesn't mean you have to wear the same boring threads. Spectra says she's been re-purposing her wardrobe and trying to come up with new looks without having to buy new stuff.
- Spa and beauty treatments: Beauty routines have gotten a make under. Facials, mani-pedis, waxes, haircuts and colorings were among the first beauty-related luxuries to go. Many of you have taken to coloring your hair yourself, or trying less pricey alternatives. luna08 says she now visits a local cosmetology school instead of a professional salon. "Eyebrow waxes for $2, mani-pedis for $10, facials for $20. Not a luxe atmosphere, but it gets the job done!"
- Take out and eating out: Making dinner at home more and brown bagging it to work is a national fad these days. It doesn't have to be all PB&J though — Smacks83 allows herself to eat out about once a week and carries cash instead of a card so she can see her spending.
- Bar tabs: Who can afford the lounge mark up? Most of you say you're going out less. While your wallet may be fatter, one reader reports her waist line is decidedly slimmer from avoiding alcohol!
- Coffee: Sorry, Starbucks! Most of you are making drip coffee at home these days and pouring it into a reuseable mug instead of buying your java on the go. It bodes well for the new instant Starbucks packets.
For the rest of the list,
- Brand names: Now is not the time for labels. One reader says she now picks up the store brand soda instead of Pepsi.
- Fancy cable: Premium channels were the first to go, but many of you report you've canceled cable all together.
- Transportation: More of you are hopping on the bus to save on gas and car costs.
- Travel: While airlines are pumping out great deals, most of you say you've cut back on travel. pia suggests vacationing at national parks instead of going overseas.
- Newspaper deliveries: A number of you say you've cut your daily newspaper deliveries and get your news online instead.
- Jewelry purchases: There are plenty of ways to sparkle. GlowingMoon has stopped spending on jewelry and is using extra funds to upgrade her home instead.
- Books and iTunes: Many of you say you've cut back on books and downloads. You might consider swapping media with friends by starting a book, movie and music trading club.